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Two Libyan Ports Shut Down Amid Anti-Government Protests

Loadings of crude oil at two Libyan ports have been suspended amid anti-government protests that are interfering with the operation of the country's oil industry.

The National Oil Corporation has declared force majeure on loadings from the Mellita terminal after production was suspended at the El Feel field.

The field, NOC said, "was subjected to arbitrary closure attempts, due to the entry of a group of individuals and the prevention of the field's workers from continuing production, which was totally shut down on Sunday."

Meanwhile, unnamed sources told Bloomberg that the Zueitina export terminal was also out of commission due to protests insisting on the resignation of Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.

The Libyan NOC has since confirmed the Zueitina force majeure.

"The NOC regrets the situation and demands that the language of reason and wisdom prevail and to keep the oil sector away from conflicts, in order to preserve the remaining dilapidated infrastructure, due to the consequences of arbitrary closures and the scarcity of budgets over the previous years," the state oil company said.

The news of the latest industry disruptions in Libya pushed oil prices higher, with Brent crude trading above $111 per barrel at the time of writing and West Texas Intermediate trading at over $106 per barrel.

The latest disruptions come amid plans by the government to boost Libya's oil production to 1.4 million bpd, taking advantage of favorable international price trends.

Libya has the biggest oil resources in Africa, but the political instability in the country has prevented it from not only fully utilizing it but even returning to production levels from before the civil war that toppled the Ghaddafi regime.

Average crude oil production in the country was 1.2 million barrels last year, but this has fallen to about 1 million bpd since the start of 2022, Bloomberg reported.

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By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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